Touching on !!! and ???


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Exclamation PointIt’s one of those things we all agree we hate yet are all guilty of doing. Like not holding the elevator doors. But guys, seriously, this !!! and ??? stuff is getting out of hand.

One exclamation point? Fine. Necessary if you’re an excitable person! One question mark: cool. No problem.

Two exclamation points or question marks? Okaaaaaay, but you’re on thin ice, mister.

Three or more? Oh. Oh, we gonna fight.

Here are the times and places I think !!! or ??? is appropriate:

1. A text or e-mail sharing news about a marriage/pregnancy/new job/lottery winnings
2. A hipsterly ironic tweet or IM
3. In trying to convey simple messages to people who do not speak English

When I get an e-mail from someone saying something like, “Where is the report????” or “The meeting is tomorrow!!!!!!” I can only assume the sender is having some kind of unprofessional seizure. And that maybe someone has told them to stop CAPSLOCKING their messages, so they’ve moved onto the next best thing. You’ve gotten these messages and rolled your eyes, right?

Okay. Now admit you’ve done it. Because you have, because you get carried away in an angry or excited e-mail exchange and you forget how to write like an adult: with one. Final. Punctuation mark at the end of your sentences. (Not including the interrobang, which is often written as !? but can actually be counted as one mark. You know‽)

In an effort to lend our everyday messages some urgency or verve that we find lacking in our usual communication, we are often tempted to go overboard on things like this. Fight the feeling. Be the bigger person. Just say, “Where is the report?”

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